Betweenness-Based Method to Identify Critical Transmission Sectors for Supply Chain Environmental Pressure Mitigation

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To develop industry-specific policies for mitigating environmental pressures, previous studies primarily focus on identifying sectors that directly generate large amounts of environmental pressures (a.k.a. production-based method) or indirectly drive large amounts of environmental pressures through supply chains (e.g., consumption-based method). In addition to those sectors as important environmental pressure producers or drivers, there exist sectors that are also important to environmental pressure mitigation as transmission centers. Economy-wide environmental pressure mitigation might be achieved by improving production efficiency of these key transmission sectors, that is, using less upstream inputs to produce unitary output. We develop a betweenness-based method to measure the importance of transmission sectors, borrowing the betweenness concept from network analysis. We quantify the betweenness of sectors by examining supply chain paths extracted from structural path analysis that pass through a particular sector. We take China as an example and find that those critical transmission sectors identified by betweenness-based method are not always identifiable by existing methods. This indicates that betweenness-based method can provide additional insights that cannot be obtained with existing methods on the roles individual sectors play in generating economy-wide environmental pressures. Betweenness-based method proposed here can therefore complement existing methods for guiding sector-level environmental pressure mitigation strategies.

betweenness-based method
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Environmental Science and Technology
Date Published: 
January 4, 2016
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Full Citation: 
Liang, Sai, Shen Qu and Ming Xu. (2016) “Betweenness-based method to identify critical transmission sectors for supply chain environmental pressure mitigation.” Environmental Science & Technology. 50 (3), 1330-1337.
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